Stage 1: Prevention/Interception Ages 3-6
Deciduous (Baby) Teeth
In this very important stage, your child's doctor is concerned with much more than the condition of your child's teeth. The doctor is interested in the position and symmetry of the jaws, future growth, spacing of the teeth, breathing and other oral habits which may, over a period of time, result in abnormal dentofacial development.
Should the doctor determine that your child may benefit from interceptive therapy, some of the common corrective procedures that are done in this stage include:
- Orthopedic changes with removable or fixed appliances.
- Dental or space maintenance with removable or fixed appliances.
- Behavior modification for oral habits.
- Referral to a pediatrician for tonsil or adenoid problems.
Treatment initiated in this stage of development is often very successful and many times, though not always, can eliminate the need for future orthodontic/orthopedic treatment.
Stage 2: Interception/Correction Ages 7-9
During this second stage of development one of the key interests will be your child's occlusion, or, how the upper and lower jaws match now, and how they will match with future growth. The doctor may also have some concern over the future available space for all the teeth, especially the eye teeth.
If the doctor determines that some treatment is required, some of the common procedures that take place in the second stage are:
- Orthodontic correction with removable or fixed appliances.
- Guidance of eruption of permanent teeth with removable of fixed appliances.
- Development of narrow arches.
This is an excellent stage to start treatment, when indicated, as your child's hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive to orthodontic or orthopedic forces. A successful outcome to treatment is dependent on cooperation between the doctor, patient and parent.
Stage 3: Correction/Rehabilitation Ages 10 and Over
All Permanent Teeth
In the third stage of development, the doctor will be looking at how your child's teeth and jaws fit, and more specifically work, together. Attention will be given to the jaw joint, (TMJ), the facial profile and periodontal tissues.
Often, in this stage, treatment involves:
- Straightening teeth and correcting the occlusion through conventional orthodontics.
- Alignment of the jaws and joints for healthy function.
- Positioning of the teeth for improved esthetics so the dentition supports and is in harmony with the profile at maturity.
Children in this stage are often self-conscious about their appearance. Many of the appliances that are now being used in orthodontics are very small, some are even invisible. All, however, require cooperation from the patient. As a parent, you are encouraged to get involved to help your child achieve the finest possible result. Your doctor, together with available state-of-the-art science and technology, is now able to maintain all your teeth and pleasant smile for a lifetime.